Simplicity is key
Ever heard of the Curse of Knowledge? This is what happens when you know so much about your subject matter that you run in danger to lose your audience. Always remember that you are the expert in whatever story you tell. You have to assume that your audience doesn´t know remotely as much about your subject matter as you do so you have to make it easy for them to follow you.
Legend has it that Albert Einstein only had one soap he used both for washing and shaving. Why add more complexity if you do not have to?
There cannot be six most important goals or five key messages. One key message is enough. Good design is achieved not when there´s nothing left to add but when there´s nothing left that can be removed.
It is the same with stories you tell. No matter how complicated your story might be, the main idea must be simple and universally understandable. Otherwise your audience might not get the point you´re trying to bring across.
Find the core before you tell
Journalists call it the lead. It is the most important bit of an article or a news story, which ordinarily comes at the beginning. Some journalists spend round 80% of their time to find the lead and once they found it the rest of the article is written relatively quickly.
This is how you should do it next time you give a business presentation. Spend some time to find the core of your story and how to convey it in a simple and understandable manner. If you don´t understand it, nobody else will.
Learn from the best
One good exercise on how to distil your story to the core comes from Alfred Hitchcock himself. After he and his screenwriters have written a story, they put it in a drawer for a week. Then they would retell each other the story by heart and every element that they have forgotten about was cut from the story as they assumed it couldn´t have been that important. Try it out.
For example the core of this blog is hoe to apply stories in business. Simple.
First thing Steve Jobs said at his iconic presentation of the very first iphone:`We’re gonna reinvent the phone`. That was the core of his story.